We don’t need to tell you that having a vacancy in your rental property at best is inconvenient and at worst severely affects your ability to remain profitable. Knowing this, several marketing agencies promote themselves as being property owners’ and management companies' owners “how to find tenants” solution, but these organizations’ services come with steep commissions and fees.
For those looking to maximize profits, you can fill your rentals fast while saving money with a more hands-on approach. Whether you have one single unit or one hundred different communities with 80 apartments each, these three steps will teach you how to find renters efficiently and affordably.
1. Decide Where to Advertise Your Rental Property
When finding renters on your own, the first step is to determine how you will get the word out to potential renters. From online listings to “For Rent” signs, there are a variety of channels and tactics available to help landlords find renters, and many of them are free. The more you advertise, the more your visibility will increase, allowing you to bring in a larger pool of applicants and fill your property faster.
Here are six can’t-miss advertising opportunities that will drive rental applications to your inbox:
Having an SEO-friendly website for your property allows you to attract renters that are searching online. Additionally, you can direct those who learn about your rental through other advertising means to your site to explore more images and information, and even to submit an application. Having a keyword-targeted and professionally written blog attached to your website can help you pull in local-targeted property searchers consistently without spending a dime on paid ads. Did you know that reviews also impact your SEO? If your residential complexes are not driving many reviews, you might explore tools such as My Review Concierge which allows business leaders to invite reviews through SMS and Email outreach.
There are many rental-focused websites designed to help landlords and tenants connect, such as Rent.com, Apartments.com, and RentalHouses.com. Many of these sites offer free listings and automatically syndicate your ad on other websites.
Many landlords find success in listing their property on Facebook Marketplace. Sharing your listing on your personal social media pages like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can also bring in new opportunities to find renters. Your friends are often willing to help you fill vacancies by re-posting on their pages and may know how to find tenants through their work or community contacts. You can also partner with a professional agency that’s experienced in creating social media plans aimed at driving interest in rentals which can supercharge your applicant funnel.
Depending on your location, placing a classified ad in the local paper or a weekly circular may be a great way to find potential renters (and note that most papers have digital versions as well). If you feel that this is a viable option, keep in mind that most people will be searching for rentals over the weekend, so it is best to run your ad with Saturday and Sunday exposure.
32% of renters say that they are moving to be closer to work. By placing a “For Rent” sign on your property, posting flyers on area bulletin boards, and sharing your listing with HR managers at large companies nearby, you can get in front of those who are working in your area and looking to shorten their commute.
Word of Mouth
Ask friends, family, and previous renters for referrals. A finder’s fee, paid once a lease is signed, can be an effective way to incentivize your contacts to assist you as you search for a new tenant.
2. Learn How to Find Tenants by Writing a Compelling Listing
Once you have decided where you will advertise, the next step is to write a listing that will let renters know why your property should be their next home. Your listing typically will comprise a heading, short description, call-to-action, and photos.
Savvy landlords know that a compelling listing is a crucial component of the how-to-find tenants process, as people will spend, on average, 3 seconds looking at your listing before choosing to take the next step with you or keep searching. Use the tips below to craft an attention-grabbing listing that will boost your qualified leads.
Use High-Res Photos to Catch Potential Renter’s Interest
Choose an attractive, high-res image as your primary photo to catch the eye of as many renters as possible. Include additional high-quality pictures of your kitchen, living space, bedrooms, and bathrooms, as well as exteriors.
Highlight Key Property Features in Your Heading
As the price, location, and number of bedrooms and bathrooms are top decision-making factors, make these the subject of your heading. If space allows, consider including any other features that would set your listing apart and help you find renters, such as large companies near your property, pet-friendly housing, or senior housing. EX: $2,700 – 2bed/2.5 bath condo in Hillsboro, close to Intel, Nike, Columbia
Share Unique Amenities and Lease Terms in Your Short Description
Aim to keep your short description between 4-6 lines, giving renters enough information to determine if your property is the right fit, without overwhelming them. Essential information that renters are looking for includes:
Neighborhood: In addition to your location, renters will also want to know more about your specific neighborhood. Is your property in a quiet residential area or close to nightlife? What businesses, parks, major roads, and highways are nearby?
Amenities: Make sure to include any features that will give you an advantage over other properties, such as parking, security, closet space, and new appliances.
Terms & Conditions: Include information regarding the length of the lease, required background checks, application fees, and deposits. By being upfront about all costs and requirements, you can reduce the amount of time spent vetting unqualified candidates.
Drive Leads with a Strong Call-to-Action
End your listing with a clear call-to-action for readers to know the next step they should take. EX: “Call Alex at 555-555-5555” or “Fill out an application at www.YourProperty.com.”
3. Bring in Better Rental Applicants with an Enhanced Online Reputation
Whether a potential renter first learns about your property on- or offline, you can expect that they will use the internet to do more research.
Many listing sites, such as Apartments.com, Hotpads.com, and ApartmentRatings.com, social media sites, like Facebook, as well as Google Business Listings and Maps, include reviews from past renters. A recent study shows that 7 out of 10 people looking to rent an apartment rely on reviews to learn more about the home, neighborhood, and you – their landlord.
What they find in these reviews is highly influential in their decision-making process:
87.6% of surveyed renters said online ratings are a key factor influencing their rental decision.
50% said they trust reviews and ratings more than recommendations from friends and family.
64% of renters said they were willing to pay more for a property with a higher ranking and more positive reviews.
69.5% of respondents said that they expect landlords to respond to online reviews.
A potential renter who reads a review stating that the landlord was unresponsive to maintenance issues, may see this as a red flag, and choose to move on to another listing. Ideal tenants with good credit and steady jobs will have more flexibility in selecting properties with the highest rating, making reputation management imperative to your success.
As with most businesses, upset tenants are more likely to leave a review than ones with positive experiences. So, to enhance your online reputation, it is essential to both engage your community and invite renters to share their feedback and provide a management response to all online reviews. By providing a timely, thoughtful response to your reviewers, you will have the opportunity to respond to any criticism, as well as build trust with readers by showing them how you will handle any issues that might arise during their lease. This can allow you a second chance with potential tenants who may have passed on your property due to a negative review.
For those managing reviews in-house rather than outsourcing to an agency, software tools such as My Review Concierge can simplify the daunting task of gathering reviews, writing management responses, assessing the data, and circulating information across the team.
Continuing to Attract the Best Tenants in the Years Ahead
While filling a vacancy may be an activity you undertake occasionally, maintaining and building your online reputation is an everyday task. In thinking about how to find tenants and the best strategies to use today and in the years to come, implementing a management response program needs to be at the top of your list.
For some, this is a task that can be handled in-house, and for others, hiring an affordable Reputation Management partner may be the answer.
A professional-grade response management service includes checking websites for new online reviews daily, crafting unique responses to those reviews, and putting strategies in place to increase the volume of reviews your business receives throughout the month.
At The Reputation Lab, our Review Concierge Service includes a dedicated team of Content Managers who monitor your reviews and craft engaging, on-brand responses on behalf of your company. When working with us, you will have confidence in knowing that your customers are receiving thoughtful communications as our writers come from the world of hospitality management, and given that experience, they know how to empathize and highlight unique features about your property/living community.
If you are interested in learning how a response management strategy and Review Concierge Service can help you find renters now and, in the future, schedule your free, no-pressure introductory call to learn more about our services. You’re also welcome to contact us directly if you have questions you’d like to ask prior to arranging your consultation.